In the middle of a conversation, my little Thérèse suddenly broke off, looking at me with compassion and tenderness. She says:
"Ah!... it's my little sister Geneviève who will feel my departure the most, certainly she's the one I find most to be pitied, because as soon as she's in trouble she comes to me and she doesn't there will be no one....
.... Yes, but the good Lord will give him strength... and then, I'll come back! »
and addressing me:
"I'll pick you up as soon as possible and I'll get Dad on board, you know he was always in a hurry..."
Later, while I was doing my duty as a nurse around her, talking as always about the impending separation, she hummed, replacing me, this couplet which she was composing while singing: (air of the Cantique "est à Me.")
"She is mine, the one that Heaven itself
“All heaven has come to take me away
“She is mine, I love her, oh! yes I love him
“Nothing can ever tear us apart. »
I said to him - "The good Lord will not be able to take me immediately after your death, because I will not have had time to be good". She resumed:
“Never mind, remember St. Joseph of Cupertino, his intelligence was mediocre, he was ignorant and only knew this Gospel thoroughly: Beatus venter qui portavit. Questioned justly on this subject, he answered so well that all were in admiration and he was received with great honors for the priesthood, with his three companions, without any further examination. - For it was judged from his sublime answers that his companions must know as much as he does. - Thus, I will answer for you and the good Lord will give you gratis all that he has given me. »
That same day, as I walked back and forth in the infirmary, she said, looking at me:
"My little Valerian..."
(She sometimes compared our union to that of Ste Cécile and Valérien.)
Thoughts like these sprang up spontaneously, looking at me:
“We will be like two little ducks, you know how closely they follow each other! »
“How sad I would be if I saw anyone on God's other knee, I would cry all day!”
My little Thérèse had been struck by the passage in the Gospel where Jesus refuses the sons of Zebedee to be, in heaven, on his right and on his left and she said: "I imagine that the good Lord has reserved these places for little children." She hoped then that these two privileged children were her and me... (This explains my repeated questions revealing the fear, alas! founded, of never being worthy of this favour.) –
The grace ofHaec facta is mihi which occurred about 3 weeks after her death was the answer to this intimate question suddenly formulated during the Office of Terce: - "My Thérèse did not tell me that she had the place hoped for: to be on the knees of the good Lord ?... » - At this precise moment the choir said: Haec facta is mihi, I did not understand these words, the translation of which I looked for as soon as the Office was over: Haec facta is mihi... This was done to me.
I said that if I lost her, I would go crazy. She resumed:
"If you're crazy, bobonne, the "Bon Sauveur" will come and get you!..." ("Bobonne" was a nickname she gave me, with our Mother's permission, because I served her and, having constant need to call me, it was less tiring for her to pronounce than my name.)
Seeing Mother Agnès of Jesus writing all the beautiful words of our Angel, I only hastily noting those that were completely personal to me, I thus showed regret at not being able to write them all:
- "I don't do like the others, I don't take note of what you say", she resumed immediately:
- "You don't need it, I'll come get you..."
Before going down to the infirmary, it was in the month of June, a day when she saw me sorry at the prospect of her imminent departure, she spoke to the Child Jesus and, with a charming gesture, raising her finger, she spoke to him as if lecturing:
“My little Jesus, if you take me, you will also have to take Mademoiselle Lili (little familiar nickname that dated from our childhood and that she gave me in private. He had been inspired by a story for babies: "Mr. Toto and Miss Lili" - she was Mr. Toto, I was Miss Lili). This is my condition, so think carefully about what you are going to do... No middle ground, take it or leave it! »
On July 22, I wrote to my Aunt Mme Guérin: ... The other day, sitting near the window, I was reading to my little patient a passage on the bliss of heaven, she interrupted me to say:
"That's not what appeals to me...
- So what did I take back?
" Oh! it's love ! To love, to be loved and to come back to earth.”
She had coughed up blood at night. Very happy, with her childish manner, she showed me the dish from time to time. She often pointed to the edge with a sad little air which meant: I would like it that far!
I replied sadly, too:
- " Oh ! it doesn't matter if there are few or many, the very fact is a sign of your death..."
Then I added: “Alas! you are happier than me, for I have no sign for mine! »
She immediately resumed:
- " Oh ! yes, you have a sign! My death is a sign of yours!...”
While I was doing my duty in the infirmary, putting order in the room, she followed me with her eyes and suddenly broke the silence with a word that nothing had provoked:
“In heaven, you will sit next to me! »
And later, quoting a passage of beautiful poetry on Louis XVII:
“You will soon come with me to rock the crying child
And, in their burning abode of a luminous breath rejuvenate the suns...
then, I will put on you the azure wings of a vermilion cherub... I will attach them myself, for you would not know, you would put them either too low or too high! »
She knew a host of stories and had retained a number of traits which she used on occasion, which made her conversation colorful and piquant.
“You are a soul of goodwill, she told me, don't be afraid, you have a little "dog" who will save you from all perils..."
(Allusion to this confession that the demon had made to Fr. Surin, in an exorcism: "I come to the end of everything, there is only this bitch of good will against whom I can do nothing.")
I said to him: “You are my ideal, and this ideal I cannot attain, oh! how cruel! It seems to me that I don't have what it takes for that, I'm like a little child who isn't aware of distances: on his mother's arm, he stretches out his little hand to grasp the curtain, a object... he does not realize that he is very far from it! »
- “Yes, but on the last day, the good Jesus will bring his little Celine close to everything she has desired, and then she will seize everything. »
"You are very small remember that and when you are very small you don't have beautiful thoughts..."
My first years of religious life made me witness a real destruction of my nature, I only saw ruins around me, so I often lamented. In one of these circumstances I heard him sing, to the tune of these last two lines of a hymn to St Joseph: “Joseph unknown on earth “How great you are in Heaven!” The 1st verse of this hymn began as follows: A noble blood circulated in your veins... and the 1st line of the chorus: Human glory is fleeting:
“Bobonne, imperfect on earth. You will be perfect in Heaven! »
To relieve a very sharp pain that my dear little sister was experiencing in her right shoulder and arm, I had imagined, tied to the sky of her bed, a wide ribbon made with folded linen, in which her arm remained suspended in the empty. This relief could not last long, she was nevertheless very grateful and said to me with tenderness:
“The good Lord will also hang in bobonne! »
Interrupting a conversation, I exclaimed sadly, thinking of his death:
- "Me, I won't know how to live without her!"
- "You're quite right," she went on quickly, "so I'll bring you two..." (wings)
When I was alone with my Thérèse, I said to her: - “You want a little bird like you to hatch from a sparrow's egg, that's impossible! »
- "Yes, but"! I'll do a physics trick to amuse all the saints. I'll take the little egg and say to the saints: Look closely, I'm going to do a sleight of hand:
"Here's a little sparrow's egg, well! I bring out a pretty little bird like me!
“So, I will say softly to the good Lord by presenting him with my little egg, but very softly, very softly: “Change the nature of the little bird by blowing on it...” Then, when he has given it back to me, I will give it to me. to the Blessed Virgin and I will ask her to kiss it... Then, I will entrust it to St Joseph and I will ask him to caress it... Finally, I will say out loud to all the Saints:
- "Tell everyone that you love the little bird that will come out of the little egg as much as I do!"
"Immediately all the Saints will cry out: - We love the little bird that will come out of the little egg as much as you do!
“Then, with a triumphant air, I will break the little egg and a pretty little bird will come and sit beside me on the knees of the good Lord, and all the saints will be in a jubilation that I cannot describe, hearing the two little birds"..."
On this passage from the Gospel: "Two women will grind together, we will take one and leave the other?..."
- "We do our little business together, I will see that you cannot grind the wheat by yourself, so I will come to fetch you... Watch therefore, for you do not know at what time your Lord must come."
She often reminded me that we were like two partners. What does it matter that one is incapable? As long as they don't separate they will one day share in the same benefits.
In her comparison of the little bird on the edge of the cloister waiting for the Divine Eagle and never ceasing to look at it lovingly, my dear little Thérèse always told me that she did not imagine herself to be alone, but that there was two little birds?...
She tried to instill in me poverty of mind and heart with words like these:
- “Bobonne, she has to hold herself in her position, that she doesn't try to be a great lady, ever! »
And as I still had to recite a Little Hour from my Office, she said in a childish tone:
- “Go say None. And remember that you are a tiny nun, the last of the nuns! »
- So you're going to leave me!
- " Oh ! not a sole! »
And, continuing my favorite theme:- “Do you believe that I can still hope to be with you in Heaven? It seems impossible to me, it's like making a little penguin compete to catch what is at the top of a greasy pole..."
- " Yes, but ! if there is a giant there who takes the little penguin on his arm, raises him very high and gives him the desired object himself!
This is how the good Lord will do with you, but you must not concern yourself with it, you must say to the good Lord: "I know very well that I will never be worthy of what I hope for, but I am reaching out to you your hand like a little beggar and I'm sure you'll answer me completely, because you're so good!...»
- If, when you're gone, we write your little life, I would like to go before... do you believe it?
- "Yes, I think so, but you mustn't lose patience... look, me, how cute I am, you'll have to do like that." »
My dear little sister tried in every meeting to detach me from myself and compared our race to that of the two little children represented by an image. She was leaving free of everything, wearing only one tunic, having nothing in her hands, except her little sister whom she was dragging along. - This one resists, she has to pick flowers, embarrass herself with a big bouquet without leaving a single one of her hands free.
One day she told me this allegorical story:
“Once upon a time there was a young lady who possessed unjust riches and to which she attached great value.
“She had a little brother who had nothing, and yet had plenty. This little child fell ill and said to his sister: - Young lady, if you wanted to, you would throw all your wealth, which only serves to worry you, into the fire, you would become my bottle, rejecting your title of "young lady" and me, when I I'll be in the enchanting country where I'm soon to go, I'll come back to get you because you'll have lived poor like me without worrying about tomorrow.
"The young lady understood that her little brother was right, she became poor like him, made herself his bobonne and never again was tormented by the concern for the perishable riches she had thrown into the fire...
“Her little brother kept his word, he came to get her when he was in the enchanting country where the good God is the King, the Blessed Virgin the Queen and both will live eternally on the knees of the good God, this is the place that 'they chose, because being too poor, they could not deserve thrones.
Another time, alluding again to the image of the two children and, moreover, to a mistress of the house who lacks nothing in all her cupboards, she says:
“Too rich young lady: several rosebuds, several birds to sing in her ear \ a petticoat, cookware, small parcels...”
taken from a passage she had read, where the author praised his hero Théophane Vénard thus: “He had a rosebud on his lips and a bird to sing in his ear. »
One evening when she saw me undressing, she was taken with pity by the misery of our clothes and, using a comic expression she had heard, she exclaimed:
- “Poor poor! how you are tore! but you won't always be like that, I'm telling you! »
“When I am in Heaven, I will go and draw from the treasures of the good Lord and I will say:
"So much for Marie, so much for Pauline, so much for Léonie, so much for the tiny Céline... And, making a sign to Papa: - She's the little one now, we have to hurry and get her!" »
She told me this dream she had had shortly before her illness:
“You were by the sea with two people I didn't know. There was one who offered to go for a walk, but she and her companion were very miserly, they said that they had to hire a lamb instead of a donkey, to ride all three of them together. But when you saw him loaded with those two people, you said you were going on foot.
“The poor lamb was going all along the hedges unable to take any more and soon he fell exhausted under his burden.
“Then, at a bend in the road, a lovely little white lamb presented itself to you. You understood then that he would support you during the journey of life; then the little lamb added: "You know, I also want to throb inside you..."
- “Afterwards, I understood that it was the reward of the charity that you had had for these two people, having supported them without complaining. This is why Jesus himself came to give himself to you. »
Having got up early in the morning, I found my dear little sister pale and disfigured by pain and anguish. She tells me : “The devil is around me, I do not see it, but I feel it... it torments me, it holds me as with an iron fist to prevent me from taking the smallest relief, it increases my pains so that I despair. And I can't pray! I can only look at the Blessed Virgin and say: Jesus! How necessary is the prayer of Compline": "Deliver us from the ghosts of the night!"
“I feel something mysterious. Until now, I suffered mainly in the right side, but the good Lord asked me if I wanted to suffer for you, I answered immediately that I wanted to... At the same moment, the left side taken with incredible intensity. I suffer for you and the demon does not want! » Deeply impressed, I lit a blessed candle and shortly afterwards calm was restored to her, but her new physical suffering was not taken away from her.
Since then, she called her right side: “Therese’s side” and her left side: “Céline’s side”.
" Oh ! yes, I'll pick you up because you don't have eyes to live for when you're cute. »
"When I say: 'I am in pain', you will answer 'so much the better!' - I don't have the strength, so it's you who will finish what I want to say."
The oppression at this moment was very strong, and, to help herself to breathe, she said as if telling a rosary: "I suffer, I suffer..." but soon she reproached herself for it as if it had been a complaint and told me what I have just written.
“My little Miss? I love you very much and it is very sweet to me to be cared for by you. »
She had called me to tell me that.
We spoke together a kind of childish language that the others could not grasp. Sr. St. Stanislas, the 1st nurse said in an admiring tone: “How nice are these two little girls with their unintelligible* jargon! »
A little later I said to my Thérèse: - “Yes, we are both nice! but you, you're nice all on your own, I'm only nice to you! She went on quickly:
- "That's why I'll come cry to you!" » [you look for]
“Bobonne, I love you very much! »
I was in front of the fireplace in the infirmary coming and going to clean up and I was tormenting myself about something that was not going as I wanted. She tells me :
“Bobonne, don't worry! »
That same day, but not in the same circumstances, I made this comment to her: - "Creatures will not know that we loved each other so much..." She went on:
“There is no point in wanting creatures to believe it, the main thing is that it be...
And, taking a confident tone:
" Yes, but ! since we will both be on God's knees! »
(She had a delightful way of saying that “yes, but!” phrase that was unique to her.)
“I will protect you!...”
I was very stingy with my Sundays, free time when I was allowed to take notes hastily taken on papers. inform. I say :
- “Today is a lousy Sunday, I haven't written anything in our little writing desk. »
- "It's the measure of Lili, but not of Jesus!" »
“My bobonne, you are no longer a bobonne, you are my nurse... and you are caring for a baby who is dying. »
Turning towards the image representing her dear little Théophane, she said while talking to him:
"Bobonne is looking after me very well, so as soon as I'm up there, we'll both come get her, spas?" » [is not it]
"I love my bobonne very much, but very much... also, when I'm gone, I'll come and get her to thank her for taking care of me so well." »
Looking at me with tenderness:
«... But, I will see you again and your heart will be in joy and no one will take your joy away from you! »
I had just made an imperfection when she said to me with eyes that made all round:
“You will still be there next to me! »
Touched to tears by the care I gave her, she exclaimed:
" Oh ! How grateful I am to you, my paup'tite bobonne! You will see all that I will do to you! »
I was afraid she was cold and I said:
- "I'm going to go get a little consolation." But she went on quickly:
- "No: you are my little consolation..."
(The "consolations" are simple pieces of wool that the robe gives with the winter clothes.)
"My bobonne, she's sweet, she takes care of me very well... I'll make it up to her!" »
"To love you, it's me... and not to love you, it's not the good Lord!" it is the devil. »
"You don't need to understand, you're too small..."
(understanding what the good God is doing in me.)
“I'm going to die, that's for sure... I don't know when, but that's for sure! »
I said to him one day: “You will be watching us from heaven, won't you? - She then answered spontaneously:
- “No, I will come down! »
I got up several times at night, despite his entreaties. On one of these visits I found my dear little sisters with joined hands and raised eyes:
“So what are you doing like this? I told him, we should try to sleep. »
- "I can't, I suffer too much, so I pray..."
- "And what do you say to Jesus?" »
- “I don't tell her anything, I love her! »
One of the last days of her life, in a moment of great suffering, she begged me thus:
" Oh ! my little Sister Geneviève, pray to the Blessed Virgin for me, I would pray to her so much if you were sick! we ourselves do not dare to ask.... »
("one dare not ask for oneself"... such is the meaning.)
She was still sighing, addressing me:
" Oh ! how one must pray for the Dying, if only one knew! »
("I heard these words and most of the others written gradually by Mother Agnès of Jesus and it was because I saw that they were noted that I did not write them down". I was witness to all of them, except those pronounced during the Hours of Office, Mother Agnès of Jesus then remaining alone with her.) For more details see also my handwritten Deposition.
“O my babe! I have a great tenderness in my heart for you!
last day of exile of my dear Little Thérèse...
On the day of her death, in the afternoon, Mother Agnès of Jesus and I being alone with her, our dear little Saint, trembling and defeated, called us to her help... She suffered extremely in all the muscles and , placing one of her arms on the shoulder of Mother Agnès of Jesus and the other arm on mine, she thus remained with her arms outstretched. At that very moment, 3 o'clock struck and the thought of Jesus on the Cross came to our minds: wasn't our poor little martyr the living image of it?
On our request: "For whom would his last look be?..." She had replied a few days before dying: - "If the good Lord leaves me free, it will be for our Mother" (Mother Marie de Gonzague).
Now, during her agony, only a few minutes before she expired, I passed a small piece of ice over her burning lips; when, at that moment, she looked up at me and looked at me with prophetic insistence. Her gaze was filled with tenderness, it had at the same time a superhuman expression made of encouragement and promises, as if she had said to me: “Go, go! my Céline, I will be with you!...”
(Did the good Lord reveal to her then the long and laborious career that I had, because of her, to follow here below and did he want to console me by my exile? Because the memory of this last look, if desired by all, and which was for me, this memory always sustains me and is an indescribable strength to me.)
The Community present was as if in suspense before this grandiose spectacle; but suddenly our dear little Saint lowered her eyes to look for our Mother who was kneeling at her side, while her veiled gaze resumed the expression of suffering it had before.
Last words of our dear little Thérèse
30 September 1897
Oh ! it is indeed pure suffering because there is no consolation. No, not one!
Oh my God ! ! ! yet I love the good God... O my good Blessed Virgin, come to my aid!
If this is agony, what is death?...
O my Mother! I assure you that the vase is full to the brim!
Yes, my God, as much as you want.... but have pity on me! My little sisters... my little sisters... My God, my God have mercy on me! I can't anymore... I can't anymore! and yet I have to last..... I am... I am reduced... No, I would never have believed that one could suffer so much... never, never!
O my Mother, I no longer believe in death for myself... I no longer believe in anything but suffering!
Tomorrow will be even worse! Finally, so much the better!
(Our Mother had just sent the Community away saying that the agony was going to continue, the Holy little patient resumed immediately 🙂
Well, let's go! lets go ! Oh ! I wouldn't want to suffer less!
Oh ! I love it....
"My God...I...love you!" »
drink slowly. Oh ! I see... (that in 3 days I won't be able to move!) ineffable smile your will
(...) one day during her illness I expressed to her the joy I felt that it was she rather than me who was the glory of the family and that her own elevation made me happier than mine. I rejoiced then to see her more perfect than me and even bringing more glory to God. She looked at me and after a moment of silence she said to me, with the tone of a soul suffering from inner darkness, prey to the greatest bitterness, but at the same time with an accent of truth that penetrated me:
- It is because presently you are in the test, I answered him, but in Heaven you will enjoy - Then she resumed, but it seemed to me that it was a Celestial voice:
“You will see that it will still be the same thing. »
I asked him no more, but I was far from understanding this admirable Communion of Saints which was his delight and his: "It's all mine, it's all for me" which ravished her with joy and hope.
Food was something I couldn't think of, it sickened my heart, and now I have animal desires I would devour anything given to me, and that humbles me greatly.
Oh! pray to the Blessed Virgin, my little Sister Geneviève, I would pray to her so much if you were ill, you yourself don't dare ask!
I look to my right and to my left and I search with my eyes and there is no one who knows me.... there is only the Thief and He is hidden!
I can no longer look at the Blessed Virgin without crying.
It's already becoming a skeleton, that's what pleases me!
(looking at his hands)
You're sorry that I'm leaving, why? I should then have some to leave you, it would be logical; but I know that I am not leaving you, on the contrary I will be closer to you.
All my life nothing has been held in my hands, it is not at the moment of death that I will keep anything for myself.
- A sister told her that she could have an hour of fear before dying to atone for her sins.
- “The fear of death to expiate my sins..? it would have no more force than muddy water! Also, if I have these fears I will offer them to the good God for sinners and as it will be an act of charity, this suffering will become for others much stronger than water. - For me the only thing that purifies me is the fire of Divine Love. » July 12st.
(About the little basket of acacias and how she asked me to remove it"):
- I saw the beauties of the earth, and my soul dreamed of the Heavens.
(So you think you'll save more souls in Heaven?
- "Yes, I believe it, the proof is that the good Lord is killing me, who so desires to save souls for Him..."
(One day after his Communion)
It was as if we had put two little children together and the little children said nothing to each other; yet I told Him a few little things, but He didn't answer me, no doubt he was asleep.
When I think I'm dying in a bed! I would have liked to die in an arena...
When I'm dead I won't say anything, I won't give any advice. If they put me on the right or on the left, I won't help. People will say: it is better on this side; they can even set fire next to me, I won't say anything.
The good Lord, He has gardens that He entrusts to owners and ordinarily He never picks fruit without their permission; but the good Lord wants a little bunch so badly that the owner doesn't want to give it to Him that he's going to steal it.
(It was about his death, because our Mother could not resign herself to giving him permission, since she called Jesus: the Thief)
(Baby's party.... She said we should always give her presents...)
When I'm gone, be very careful not to lead family life, not to tell you anything about visiting rooms without permission, and only ask permission when it's useful and not amusing things.
(One day she was in front of a library)
- Oh ! How I would be married to have read all these books!
- Why then, since they would be read, it would be a given, I would understand regret reading them but not having read them.
"If I had read them I would have broken my head, I would have wasted precious time that I could have used simply to love the good Lord..."
I fully intend not to remain inactive in Heaven, my desire is to work for the Church and souls, I ask this of the good God and I am certain that he will answer me, aren't the Angels continually busy us without ever ceasing to see the divine Face, to lose ourselves in the shoreless Ocean of Love. Why wouldn't Jesus allow me to imitate them? You see that if I leave the battlefield already, it is not with the selfish desire to rest; the thought of eternal bliss barely thrills my heart, suffering has long since become my heaven here below and I find it hard to conceive how I could acclimatize myself in a country where joy reigns without any mixture of sadness , Jesus will have to transform my soul and give it the ability to enjoy, otherwise I could not bear the eternal delights. (excerpt from a letter)
I had, she said, a very great capacity to suffer and a very small one to enjoy, I could not bear the joy. Joy, for example, robbed me of all appetite, whereas on days when I had a lot of pain I ate like four. It was the opposite of everyone else.
I am in a state of mind where it seems to me that I no longer think.
- It doesn't matter, the good Lord knows your intentions, as long as you're humble as long as you're happy.
Once the hour struck and I did not bother quickly enough she said to me:
"Go to your little homework!" » - and correcting himself: "no, to your little love!" »
And another time I said: I have to work because Jesus would be sad, she went on:
"But no, it's you who would be sad, he can't be sad with our arrangements, but what a sorrow for us not to give him as much as we can!" »
During the year 1897, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus told me, long before she was ill, that she expected to die this year; here is the reason she gave me in June: when she saw herself suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis:
“You see, she said to me, the good Lord is going to take me at an age when I would not have had time to be a priest if I could have been a priest, it would be this month of June, this ordination that I would have received Holy Orders. Hey! Well, so that I don't regret anything, the good Lord allows me to be sick, so I couldn't have gone there and I would die before having exercised my ministry. »
When hemorrhages occurred, she rejoiced, thinking that she was shedding her blood for the good Lord:
"It could not be otherwise," she said, "and I knew very well that I would have this consolation of seeing my blood shed since I am dying a martyr of love." »